Thursday, September 10, 2015

2015-09-09: Autonomy Incubator Launches #MeetOurTeam

As the Autonomy Incubator settles down from weeks of nonstop demonstrations, we are launching a series of short videos called #MeetOurTeam. Designed to introduce our multi-dimensional team, we hope to convey the unique importance of the skills each member brings to the project.

The Autonomy Incubator team consists of researchers from a variety of disciplines. We refer to our lead researches as Principal Investigators (PIs), and they have backgrounds as varied as computer science, robotics, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, psychology, machine vision, and machine learning. As a cohesive unit, our team designs autonomous systems that have the self-contained ability to execute a mission without direct human involvement. The applications for this technology are vast, and so we focus on a wide range of projects within autonomy.

To be successful, we are each of us dependent upon the hard work of our teammates. For example, Anna, our human factors specialist, focuses on the interactions between our autonomous systems and users, and she seeks to make the machine controls intuitive and easy for a user to implement. This has been instrumental in projects designed to be operated by people without a technical background. Meghan's work on gesture-based controls of UAVs falls under this category, and among other things her work has proven exceptional in our outreach as guests to our lab have been able to fly UAVs with a series of simple hand gestures. Loc works on obstacle avoidance and computer vision, which is vital to the research Jim is doing with the Mars Flyer, while Paul's avionics research significantly benefits our more difficult mission and has facilitated our flight tests, and so on and so on. Aside from researchers, our team is supported by qualified UAS pilots, flight safety personnel, range safety officers, technicians and administrators.

Stay tuned for more, and we look forward to having you #MeetOurTeam at the Autonomy Incubator.

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